Planting a garden is exciting and can be a very rewarding pastime. However, there are a number of mistakes that novice gardeners can make which can render the experience more challenging. Here are ten of the most common and handy tips on how to avoid them.
1. Choosing a poor site
The location of your garden is crucial to its success. There should be plenty of sunshine and access to an adequate supply of water. Different plants require different amounts of light so check the instructions in your seed packets before planning what to plant where.
2. Thinking too big
It’s tempting to get carried away when planning a garden and try to cram too many plants or flowers into your space. Focus instead on just a few of your favourites until you become more experienced.
3. Planting too early
You may be eager to get started but putting plants outside too early means they run the risk of being damaged by frost. Some seedlings can be started off indoors and then planted out when the weather warms up. For others you will simply have to be patient and wait until it is warm enough to sow them directly into the ground.
4. Not preparing the ground
Your soil will provide your plants with all the nutrients they need so it is important to take the time to prepare this carefully. Digging it over, breaking it down to a fine tilth and adding fertiliser if necessary will allow your young plants to settle into the soil much more happily.
5. Inadequate spacing
Make sure that you allow plenty of room between your plants. If they are too crowded they will not get enough sunlight or nutrients and they will not thrive. If you want to maximise your space’s potential, plant quick growing crops such as radishes in the gaps between slower growing ones. You will have harvested these before the other plants have grown big enough to need the extra space.
6. Gluts of produce
If you plant all your seeds at once, you will end up with too many vegetables ripening at the same time. Stagger your vegetable planting by successive sowing, for example every two weeks. This way you will have a steady supply of food to harvest.
7. Not protecting your plants
Your tender seedlings and new vegetables are very tempting for any passing birds, caterpillars, rabbits or deer so using netting or fencing to prevent these pests from undoing all your hard work.
8. Letting weeds flourish
It is much easier to pull up weeds when they are small so remove them as soon as they appear. Not only is this less disruptive to your plant beds but it stops weeds from absorbing vital nutrients meant for your plants.
9. Watering incorrectly
Not enough water will cause your plants to wilt but too much water can flood and rot the root system, also causing damage. Water regularly, making sure your plants receive moisture right down to their roots.
10. Not harvesting
It might seem strange but not harvesting your produce when it is ready can actually prevent your plants from producing more. Pick herbs and vegetables when they are at their best to encourage the plants to set additional crops.
Follow these tips to avoid making key mistakes and your garden is sure to thrive.